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Miss Moore´S Teachings In Toni Cade Bambara's “The Lesson”

747 words - 3 pages

The lessons that are taught through experience are usually the ones that stick with children for a lifetime. In Toni Cade Bambara's “The Lesson”, Miss Moore, a prominent character in the story, teaches a lesson to underprivileged children growing up in Harlem. Bambara's work is described as “stories [that] portray women who struggle with issues and learn from them.” (Vertreace, Par. 48) Bambara uses Miss Moore and her characteristics to teach Sylvia and the other children about social inequality and the idea of pursuing personal aspirations regardless of social status. Miss Moore has many admirable characteristics; she's intelligent, patient and caring.

One of Miss Moore's defining qualities is her intelligence. Her academic skills and self-presentation is noticeable through her college degree and use of “proper speech” (Bambara, 385). Miss Moore also makes her intelligence evident from the methods she uses to teach Sylvia and the other children. Unlike planting them in classrooms, she takes them out on trips to show them the real world. Despite all the insults she receives from the
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children, the children view her as a knowledgeable figure and engage in her lessons. In this one trip she takes them to a toy store, F.A.Q Schwarz, and lets them scope out the toys and their prices. The children soon realize that the prices are beyond their dreams and begin to wonder who these people are that spend so much. Sylvia finds a clown and reads the price of $35. “Although too proud to admit her emotions to Miss Moore...her realization that what it costs would buy many items desperately needed by her family,” (Hargrove, Par.18) These epiphanies the children get are the result of how Miss Moore uses her intelligence to teach the children effectively.

The quality that makes Miss Moore so successful in her method of teaching is her patience. She's patient in her attempts of teaching even though the children view her as someone who is disturbing their summer plans. After arriving at the toy store, Sugar immediately asks if she can steal. Miss Moore responds with a calm and collected “I beg your pardon,”(Bambara 387) This shows her patience...

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